Dungeon Twister is one of my favorite games - a game that I wasn't expecting much from when I first heard about it, but a game that has become one of the most strategic yet variety-filled games that I've ever played. The reason I don't play it more often is simple - it is only a two-player game. Enter Dungeon Twister: 3/4 Players Expansion (Asmodee Editions, 2005 - Christopher Boelinger) - the second expansion to the game and one that allows (shockingly) three to four players to enjoy the game. I wasn't sure if the game would translate to more than two players, thinking that it might be too chaotic.
Well, it was a bit more chaotic and took a bit longer, yet I was rather surprised at how well the game flowed with more players. I found that a four-player game especially was rather exciting, with much going on, and the game felt like a huge brawl in a maze. While Dungeon Twister is still best with two players, I would gladly play this expansion with three or four players. The scenarios in the book are rather interesting, and even the components themselves are worth picking it up.
Thoughts on the expansion:
1.) Components: The game comes with almost identical components to the original game. Instead of orange and blue, the two new colors are red and green - and really the only thing missing is the rulebook. I suppose this means that you could simply buy this expansion in the place of the original game. Really, though, the only reason to do that is if you like red and green better, because most of the expansions are going to be in orange and blue (although I heard that perhaps at least one expansion will be geared to the three/four player colors). Still, if you wanted to play two simultaneous two-player games with the set or simply wanted some different layouts of rooms, this set works for that also. I have managed to fit the base game and first two expansions in only two of the boxes, but it is a tighter fit. Everything is still of the highest quality, as were the first two sets.
2.) Rules: On the back of the rulebook is a nice summary of the rules, equivalent to that of the first book; but other than that, the majority of the book simply explains seven scenarios that players can utilize. There are a few paragraphs that explain the modifications for a three to four player scenario. The largest change is that players must score six victory points to win the game, and players can escape out any of the opponent's end lines. The three-player map looks like a "T", and the four-player map looks like an "X". Players of the original game will have no problem diving right in (it takes about one minute to explain the modifications). At the same time, I've taught and played the game with three new people to the system, and they understood just as easily.
3.) Scenarios: I haven't played all of the scenarios; but they all look fascinating, and I'm highly looking forward to trying all of them. Scenarios include:
- Crossing: This is basically a scenario using a sixteen square grid in which players must only exit across from each other. It's a nice change up, but I don't like it as much as the basic three-four player game.
- Pyramid: The squares are staggered to form a pyramid in which players must start at the bottom, rushing to the top to escape out. I actually think this is a cool game, as speed counts and fighting is not rewarded other than as a delaying action. It's neat to watch the scramble towards the top of the pyramid.
- Rush Out!: This scenario is very similar to Pyramid, although with a different layout. This isn't a favorite scenario of mine, other than the fact that it has a time limit.
- And Engineers Invented - Sliding!: This is my favorite scenario in the book, with two small grids connected by a square that can slide back and forth like an elevator. The elevator is critical to the success of the game and makes for a neat chokepoint when playing.
- Where's the Exit?: When I'm in the mood for a giant game, this is it; as it uses sixteen squares and has secret exits for players. It doesn't seem to have the interaction of the other scenarios.
- Friendly Murder Party: This is a scenario that is custom made for people who simply want a lot of fighting in the game. Players score points for killing others and can even join up with players not their color in group combat. Trolls give victory points when they are wounded, and the entire thing becomes one big bloody brawl. I like the fighting in Dungeon Twister, but the game's essence for me is that it is a wonderful mix of maneuvering and fighting. Putting the emphasis on fighting doesn't seem as interesting, yet at the same time I realize that bloodthirsty people might enjoy this particular scenario.
- A Surprise Party! This scenario has a diagonal shaped board but is most notable for the fact that players pair off in teams.
4.) Basic Game and Fun Factor: With four fire wands on the table, four treasure chests - four of everything! - the game gets rather interesting. One of the major differences is that a perfect plan you might have to attack an opponent might be foiled by a completely different plan by a third party. This might frustrate some people, but I found it a lot of fun adapting to a bit more chaos in the game. Several hilarious scenarios can crop up, with groups of trolls going at it, piles of dead adventurers from combat with a goblin scampering through them, and other interesting things that could only happen with four players. This many players also tends to put the "twister" in Dungeon Twister, as rooms are rotated at a dizzying rate; and players must keep a careful watch as to what new problems/solutions this may cause. Fighting is more deadly, as players will most likely get into more battles yet still have the same amount of cards as the two player game.
5.) Time: One thing that is critical, however, is the time factor. I've already found that placing a strict two-minute time limit on turns is a useful idea in the base game, but in a three or four player game it's practically essential! Downtime could otherwise be a game breaker for many players, as the changing board can ruin the plans that you've carefully laid in your thoughts. The time of the game is increased, also; but I've found that a good game can occur in ninety minutes to two hours (the 60 minute time limit on the box seems awfully positive).
It's amazing what changes adding one or two more players can have on the game. Those who enjoyed Dungeon Twister for its almost pure strategy may be slightly annoyed at the higher level of chaos due to multiple players. Others may enjoy it more, since a smarter opponent can still be foiled by the unexpected play of a third party. While I still think that the majority of my Dungeon Twister games will be with two players, I think that this is a very good expansion and will not hesitate to pull it out when there are three or four willing players. The scenarios add variety, but the basic game itself is still a different experience each time and will likely produce many stories of laughter in the future.
"Real men play board games"
You can buy this game directly from Funagain games.
BoardGameGeek entry for Dungeon Twister: 3-4 player expansion